How Long Can You Expect Your Asphalt Shingle Roof to Last?

Improve your Asphalt Roof Lifespan

When investing in a new roof, you’re expecting to get as many years out of it as possible. This is especially true for an asphalt shingle roof.

One of the more important questions customers ask our representatives is, “How long do asphalt shingles last?” If another roofing contractor claims “for a lifetime,” you might want to ask whose lifetime? Yours? Your house’s?

Fortunately, we’re here to help you better determine the lifespan of your asphalt shingle roof. After all, the team at Schultheis Bros. has been installing asphalt shingle roofs since 1946, and we know what it takes to get the most out of the life expectancy of your current roof.

The truth is, you should get reasonably close to the manufacturer’s predicted lifespan of your roofing materials. But there are several factors that will affect how much time you’ll get out of your asphalt shingle roof.

Recognizing when to replace the roof on your home can save you a bunch of needless expenditures in repairs and help you budget for your next roof replacement should one be needed. Since the lifespan of an average asphalt shingle roof is contingent on various issues, we’ve broken down each of these factors to help you better determine the condition of your present roof. We also will help you plot a course through the roof repair and replacement process if and when needed.

By the end of this blog, you’ll know how long your asphalt roof ought to last when you should consider replacing it, and the factors that will influence its lifespan.


Okay, why are we talking about asphalt shingle roofs?

When it comes to roofing options, there is nothing more common than asphalt shingles. In fact, you can find them covering nearly 80 percent of the homes in the country.


How old is your roof?

First, you’ll want to determine the age of your current roof. Of course, if you had the roof replaced yourself, you’ll have a record of it. But if you recently bought the house and the roof has yet to be replaced, you’ll want to find out how old it is

Finding out how long it has been since your roof has been replaced can help you take the initiative and avoid suffering from needless costs stemming from roof leaks. It can also give you an idea of how much life is remaining in the roofing system so you can budget appropriately, if needed, for a new roof. Here are a few tips that can help identify the age of your roof.

  • Check with the roofing company. If you’ve only just purchased your home or are in the process of making a purchase, it’s always a great idea to ask who installed the roof and how old the roof is.
  • Check with your locality. If your local community calls for a roofing permit to be pulled when a roof is being replaced, this is another excellent place to begin your search. If a permit were issued, this would let you know precisely when the roof was replaced.
  • Have the roof inspected by a skilled roofing professional. If you’re still unable to establish when your roof was installed, it might be helpful to contact a professional. A certified roofing contractor, such as Schultheis Bros., is the best go-to route for roof inspections to help determine its age and condition.

Here are the factors that affect the life of your asphalt shingle roof

If you’re in the market for a new roof, there are a number of considerations to ensure you’re making a smart investment. We invite you to follow along to find out which factors impact the lifespan of your asphalt shingle roof and determine when you should investigate replacement options.


What are the weather conditions where you live?

Every type of roof goes through wear and tear from the weather throughout its life. Sun, rain, hail, and big temperature swings all play a part in how quickly you’ll lose the protective layer of granules and in causing the weatherproofing asphalt to age and become brittle.

It’s no secret. We know the weather conditions in Pittsburgh can change quickly from one day to the next, without even mentioning the extreme cold temperatures in the winter and sizzling hot temperatures in the summer. These dramatic changes can cause plenty of erosion on the roof. For instance, when shingles freeze in the winter, this will frequently loosen the roof granules.

These weather conditions and drastic temperature changes can also result in the cracking of the rubber gaskets around the vent pipes. Flashing can also be pulled away from walls as well as away from the chimney.


Do you have the proper amount of attic insulation?

Not having the correct amount of insulation in your attic can result in ice dams in the winter due to heat escaping from the home’s interior. According to the Insulation Institute, Pittsburgh falls into zone 5, which requires a minimum of R39 for insulation. Most roofing contractors will probably tell you, however, that a majority of homes in the region are under-insulated.

A hint: If you can see your roof rafters showing through the insulation, your attic is under-insulated. This means that not only are you paying more in heating and cooling costs but the lifespan of your roof is shortened as well.


Which way does your asphalt shingle roof face?

Let’s face it; you probably wouldn’t think the direction your home faces factors into the life of your asphalt shingle roof. But the volume of direct sunlight your roof gets impacts how long it’ll last. Areas constantly being hit by the scorching sun will always age faster than those in shady areas.

However, you need to be aware that areas that are constantly shady areas are more susceptible to aging as algae and moss tend to grow in these spaces. In addition, algae and lichen tend to thrive on shingles in shady areas as they feed on the oil and limestone found in the shingles themselves.

The conclusion: All of the outside elements are going to factor into the lifespan of your asphalt shingle roof.


What is the slope of your roof?

The roof’s pitch or slope will definitely affect how long the asphalt shingles will last. Where roofs have a low slope, water, snow, leaves, and other debris are left sitting on the shingles longer than they should. This leads to too much moisture on the roof, which can eventually cause mold, mildews, and even rot. On the other hand, a high-pitched roof will more easily let water and debris run-off, which usually means the roof will dry out much faster.


How well was the roof installed?

Another crucial factor to consider is how well the roofing contractor initially installed the roof. For instance, roof installations in the Pittsburgh region, a crucial roof component is the ice and water barrier. Not having enough ice and water underlayment installed, or not having it installed in critical areas like a valley, can cause leaks during heavy rains or when ice damming occurs in the winter.

A word about underlayment: Roofing underlayment is one of the most vital components of roof replacements. Underlayment is a layer of waterproofing security on the occasion when the exterior roof is damaged. This added layer of protection counters moisture buildup and mold issues and is essential in helping prevent your materials from rotting away.

We’ve come across roofing systems during our roof inspections that were only a few years old, but we’re already leaking due to poor workmanship by the roofing contractor when first installing the roof.


What is the color of your roofing materials?

Believe it or not, in some cases, the color of shingles you choose can affect your roof’s life expectancy. When the sun shines, lighter materials are preferred as dark products absorb more heat from the sun. That’s because overheated shingles are more apt to experience wear and tear.

Yes, there are now “cooler” shingles available with more reflective properties, but generally speaking, the darker the color or your shingles, the more heat they’ll absorb. The more heat they absorb, the more prone they are to breaking down sooner rather than later.


Has your current roof been properly maintained?

The most clear-cut factor that affects the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is a lack of routine maintenance and upkeep.

Many well-meaning homeowners don’t give their roof a second thought unless there’s a problem – and then it might be too late to do something about it. Unless you don’t mind having to replace your roof long before it should be replaced, you had better carry out some self-checks of your roof every change of season.

Scores of roofing specialists also suggest an annual professional inspection of your roof. The eyes of an accomplished professional may be able to catch sight of something you might otherwise not detect and will be able to steer you to a practical repair option versus having to shell out big bucks for a total roof replacement.

The bottom line: Don’t wait twenty years to begin paying notice to your shingles. Things you can and ought to be on the lookout for include curled, broken, or missing shingles, excessive granule loss, exposed nails, damaged flashing, missing seals, and gutter concerns.


So, just how long will my shingle roof last?

From brand-new, the usual asphalt shingle roof will last 20-25 years before needing to be completely replaced. However, as we’ve just pointed out, a variety of factors will affect the lifespan of your shingle roof. We’ve described how the weather and climate have a substantial impact. Or, if you get frequent high-wind storms, significant swings in temperature, or strong direct sunlight, among other factors, shingles will sustain damage and won’t last as long. Of course, if the original installation wasn’t done well, your roof might fail prematurely.

All these factors must be considered when determining how long your shingle roof will last.


Ready to talk to an expert?

If you already have an asphalt shingle roof on your house, you fall into the group representing approximately 80 percent of American homeowners. If you’re presently thinking about a new shingle roof or replacing your current one, you’re in great company, too. But no matter where you currently are in your shingle roof voyage, you need to team up with an expert who can help you get the most out of your shingle roof.

The pros at Schultheis Bros. offer the best inspection, maintenance, and repair expertise you’ll discover anywhere in the Pittsburgh region. Schultheis Bros. is the premier asphalt shingle roofing contractor in the greater Pittsburgh and surrounding area and our pledge is to deliver the finest products with the finest service for each and every customer. But don’t simply take our word for it – check out some of our customer reviews.


All set to experience the Schultheis Bros. difference for yourself? Give us a call and schedule your consultation today.